Was Martha Moxley's 1975 murder covered up due to suspect Michael Skakel's close ties to Robert F. Kennedy?

Was Martha Moxley's 1975 murder covered up due to suspect Michael Skakel's close ties to Robert F. Kennedy?

15-year-old Martha Moxley was an outgoing child who was brutally murdered while walking back from a friend's house.

Moxley was discovered dead on October 31, 1975, in the backyard of her family home in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

The police have hunted for her killer for over 43 years now and the case still does not have any definitive answers about who killed her, and why.

The murder garnered a lot of attention from the media as the suspects were connected to the Kennedys and gave rise to questions whether money and privilege played a part in covering up the unsolved murder.

Michael Skakel and his older brother Tommy Skakel, who were friends of Moxley, were prime suspects in the case as she was in their house on the night she died. 

Martha Moxley was murdered at the age of 15 after leaving her friend's house (Getty Images)

Another theory highlights the involvement of the Skakel's live-in tutor, Kenneth Littleton, who changed his story to the authorities multiple times and had a questionable character.

The authorities were able to find the murder weapon which was a shattered golf club next to her body but it took almost 25 years for an arrest to be made.

Oxygen media's new documentary titled 'Murder and Justice: The Case of Martha Moxley' explores the list of suspects and the evidence against them in hope of new leads or answers. 

Who was Michael Skakel? How was he connected to the murder of Martha Moxley?

On the night that Martha Moxley went missing, her last stop was at the Skakel home where she visited 15-year-old Michael Skakel and his older brother 17-year-old Thomas 'Tommy' Skakel.

The golf club which was found at the crime scene was traced back to a set from the Skakel family.

When Michael Skakel was initially interviewed by the police, he said that he had left his house at around 9.15 pm to head to his cousin Jimmy Terrien's house and came back home at 11.00 pm and went to bed. 


A private and confidential interview with a private detective which was leaked to the press in 1995, however, painted a different picture.

Skakel had said that post coming back home, he had climbed a tree outside Moxley's window at around midnight and had masturbated in it.

A pretrial hearing which took place in 2000 had Skakel's childhood pal Andy Pugh testifying that he believed that Skakel had been involved in the murder.

Pugh recalled a phone call in 1991 where he had confronted Skakel who denied the killing. 

Martha Moxley was seen alive last at Michael Skakel and his older brother Tommy Skakel's house (Getty Images)

Skakel then admitted that he had masturbated in a tree the night Moxley died.

However, the tree described was the one right above where Moxley's body was found.

Two of Skakel's former classmates John D. Higgins and Gregory Coleman revealed that Skakel had shared fragments of the crime with them. Coleman testified saying Skakel had once told him, "I am going to get away with murder. I am a Kennedy."


Skakel was raised mostly by his father and had a tumultuous childhood with both neighbors and teachers describing him as a violent child who was unable to control his temper.

His friends shared that the Skakel household was surrounded by alcohol, drugs, and sibling rivalries.

According to author Mark Fuhrman, the sibling rivalries refer to Michael Skakel and his older brother, both of whom were supposedly competing for the affection of their neighbor, Moxley. 

Twenty-three years into the case, Moxley's former neighbor Michael Skakel—who was also 15 at the time of the murder—was arrested.

Skakel's relationship with Kennedy Jr led people to question whether money and privilege had impacted the case.

In his memoir, Skakel had insisted that there would be a chapter on the murder and also confessed that, on that fateful night Moxley was killed, he was sexually attracted to her.

He also admitted that he was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. 


Michael Skakel has always maintained his innocence (Getty Images)

Questioning the burden of needing to prove the case, many books were written that capitalized on Skakel’s connection to the Kennedys.

In 2002, Skakel was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years-to-life, which was followed by many appeals.

In 2013, a Connecticut Supreme Court judge, however, ruled that Skakel’s original lawyer had not provided an adequate defense by failing to interview a key witness, and his conviction was reversed.

Skakel has always maintained his innocence and lack of involvement in the case. 

In 2000, when Skakel was indicted in the murder of Moxley, he was due in court to face the murder charge. It is at this point that he came face to face with her mother Dorthy Moxley and reportedly told her "I feel your pain. But you’ve got the wrong guy." 


You can catch the series 'Murder and Justice: The Case of Martha Moxley' on Saturday, June 22 at 7 PM ET/PT on Oxygen.

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